These are some of our favorite heels as of 2022, but check out our entire Guide to Comfortable Heels!
Pictured above, some of our favorite black heels for the office: one / two / three / four / five
Last week, we had The Corporette Guide to Interview Suits. We thought we’d do a round-up of black pumps today, another must-have for the interview wardrobe. However, we thought we’d challenge ourselves by only rounding up good-looking shoes under $100…
2021 update: Most of our latest favorite black heels for the office are pretty affordable, but definitely check Calvin Klein, Sam Edelman, and Marc Fisher LTD for frequent sales putting them under $100.
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(Curious for our other roundups of black pumps? In addition to the several specific shoes mentioned in our Guide to Comfortable Heels, here are our roundups from 2021, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2016, 2015, 2013 (interview pumps AND our low heel roundup), 2012 (under $250) and 2008, as well as our comfort-focused roundups of 2016 and 2010 and our posts on extended sizes for professional women’s shoes.)
|Love the side detail on these pumps — it adds a bit of texture and interest without detracting from the classic shape; also love the cushioned footbed. They’re available in black (patent and kid), beige, and navy at Zappos.com for $54. LifeStride – Haze (Black Premier Kid/Sherillo) – Footwear|
|For some reason, we love the look to these shoes. They strike us as classic and beautiful. We particularly like the rounded toe, the stacked heel, and the non-slip panel on the sole. They’re available at CalvinKlein.com for $98. Selene Leather Pump (Note — there’s a great taupe pair on sale at Shoes.com for $75; take an additional 15% off with code 15OFF.)|
|We like the stacked 2.75″ heel on these, as well as the promise of a “plush, cushioned footbed.” Nice! They’re available in black, a purpley “burgandy” suede, and a gray “pewter” leather for $99 at EddieBauer.com (sizes 6-12). Eddie Bauer Dress Pumps|
|This highly-rated shoe on Zappos has a bit of a platform to it, which can make the high heel (almost 4″) far easier to walk in — and in general we’ve had great luck with Franco Sarto shoes. They’re available at Zappos.com in black (patent and kid), gray, taupe, gold, and magenta for $80.10 (they were $89). Franco Sarto – Napoli (Black Kidskin Leather) – Footwear|
|This is a great pump with a classic look that, for reasons we can’t put our fingers on, almost has a slight vintage vibe to it. It’s available in red, teal, and “whiskey” brown at Endless.com for $89.95. Seychelles Women’s Code Pump,Black|
|Today only specials — 6pm.com has a ton of great black pumps on sale today, also, which we’d be remiss if we didn’t point you towards. We like the BCBG Generation Edith, pictured (BCBGeneration – Edith (Black Synthetic Kid) – Footwear, was $49, now $19.60 at 6pm.com for today only), as well as the a patent leather pump from Volatile (VOLATILE – Molly (Black) – Footwear, was $49.99, now $15) (pictured at the very top of this post), and the Sofft Rivoli (Sofft – Rivoli (Black Madras Kid Skin) – Footwear, was $99.95, now $34.95).|
Readers, what are your favorite inexpensive heels?
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I ordered the Franco Sarto Napoli in nude a while ago and was very, very disappointed with the quality. It could be because they were nude and the flaws were extra-magnified, or it could be because I am used to higher-quality shoes, but I returned them right away. Just my two cents.
Those Calvin Kleins are exactly what I have been looking for, thank you!
Use promo code PW201027 to get 20% off.
I have the Franco Sarto Napolis in black and get tons of compliments on them. As for comfort, all I can say is that the platform makes them more comfortable than my other pair of 4″ heels.
I have them in nude and love them.
I have the Napoli’s in black suede. Luv! Got them last fall; I see they’ve run another batch, which is good.
For pointy toe I got a great pair of low healed Bandolinos for under $50 at Macy’s and for round toe I love a pair by Madden Girl, that were under $75 but I can’t remember how much.
i just got the same pair of bandolinos and they are fabulous. nice low heel and very comfortable!
I bought the same Bandolinos about a year ago. They’ve held up remarkably well, and I am pretty hard on my shoes. I’ve only needed the heels replaced once.
Very cute, especially the LifeStride.
How do you ladies feel about wedges on shoes? Does it detract from the professionalism? I have a pair of plain non-patent round-toe black heels with very slender stacked pale wood wedges. I love them, especially for the comfort, but I’m worried that the wood makes them more day-time. At first I was only going to wear them with pants so the wedge was less noticeable but I’ve slipped and worn them with skirts a few times.
no opinions on professionalism, but they sound beautiful!
Watch out for Lifestride — they’re made out of some of the cheapest synthetic materials out there — you’re better off paying a little more for higher quality materials.
Love wedges but they are definitely less formal than regular heels.
Thanks for the heads up! I’m on a shopping ban as it is, I was back home for my mom’s wedding and hit up the shops while there. Bad news.
I think wedges are less formal, but not necesssarily office-inappropriate. I wouldn’t wear them to an interview, to court, etc. but for normal office-wear, I don’t think they are a “no-no”.
Also, consider your office culture. Are peep-toes, patent, sling-backs, etc. OK? If so, then wedges probably also not a problem. If no one wears anything but closed-toed classic shoes, then maybe reconsider.
I think wedges are fine and I actually tend to think the ones I have look better with a skirt than with pants. The wood wedge, however, is a somewhat more casual look than wedges that match the shoe.
I bought a pair of LifeStride pumps and I have to say the quality is kind of meh. Maybe they just don’t fit my feet correctly – my foot slides down the shoe whether I wear trouser socks or not. They also don’t feel very solid. I’m a die-hard Naturalizer fan and wear “trendy” Payless pieces, so I’m no shoe guru but I now stay away from LifeStride.
i have a pair of mary jane-style lifestride flats and i had the same immediate reaction (felt really cheap – but they were like $20 at DSW). however, i used to wear them to my retail job and they were surprisingly comfortable over long periods of standing on my feet.
I quit buying LifeStride after I had a pair fall apart (seams came apart and heel separated from the shoe) after three wearings. I’d rather spend more and get better quality, but I know for students on a tight budget that’s not always possible.
It’s weird but I think payless shoes are actually better constructed than lifestride. Just goes to show…
I don’t know if these are considered pumps, but these are the most comfortable of 15-odd pairs of shoes I’ve ordered from zappos in a quest to find professional/comfortable heels (I have a wide part at front of my foot).
These are incredibly comfortable!
I have the Sofft version of these shoes, and they are the most comfortable pair of heels I’ve ever owned. I can run in them.
I like the Nine West pumps. I have these: http://www.ninewest.com/Nuncio/11520,default,pd.html?cgid=7006&itemNum=42&variantSizeClass=&variantColor=TAUPELE
And I also like the higher heel: http://www.ninewest.com/Barbe/2929563,default,pd.html?cgid=7006&itemNum=41&variantSizeClass=&variantColor=BLCK2SY
I just ordered the higher heel in a black patent. They are on sale for $30.
I second this — I think that the classic Nine West design looks better than most of the shoes featured — I bought mine for $40 four years ago and I still wear them!
s in Chicago
Any suggestions on what color shoe to wear with a chocolate brown suit? It’s a heavy cotton sateen, so VERY casual (just want to clarify this is not something indended for interviews or law settings or the like–just a nice comfy go-to for days in the office). I’m in a creative field, so some leeway.
I normally stick with suits in blacks and grays, but I went out of my comfort zone because this one fits me like a glove and seems to work well with my blonde hair. The fabric also seems perfect for end of summer/fall.
I’m not wearing it yet, since I don’t know quite what to do in terms of shoes…nude, bronze, ??? Black just doesn’t seem right to me.
I have some dark dark red shes that go great with brown.
If you are wearing a chocolate brown skirtsuit, I would go with nude / flesh-toned pumps. They serve to elongate your leg (an added bonus if you are short like me) but still look professional.
I think brown shoes go best with brown pants, but in a more casual work environment, the pop of flesh-toned color under the dark pants could probably still work.
That being said, I don’t think it’s the only color you can wear with brown — your instincts are right, I would shy away from the black shoe. One day I surprised myself and wore purple pumps with brown pants, which sounds like it wouldn’t work, but actually went fairly well (it really depends on the shade of purple — this one was more muted, with some brown-y taupe-y elements).
I’m also envisioning certain colors of green that would look gorgeous with brown… mmm…. medium-t0-forest green….
Recently I admired a colleague who wore pair in a warm purple-red (similar to the color of these: http://amzn.to/b5mAAw) with a chocolate brown suit.
I agree with both the ladies above!
Deep purple and red were going to be my suggestions. I’m picturing dark suede jewel tones, but I’m not sure if suede is a good choice for Chicago. They’re out of the question for me because of weather and I’m devastated!
s in Chicago
Thanks so much for advice. I never in a million years would have thought of something with purple tones (or green). I really, really like both ideas–especially as we start getting into fall.
(And you’re right, suede is tough. It’s one of my favorites but always has such a short window when it’s OK to wear. I can’t believe it’s still August and here I am already complaining about our snow! :)
how long can we wear nude shoes? for some reason I think they have the same rules on seasons that white shoes do . . . is that right?
I wear my chocolate brown suit with brown pumps in a lighter shade, not sure what I’d call it really, maybe cognac?
Brown croc or variegated brown lizard or reptile skin. I also have a really cute pair of patent slingbacks that go from chocolate brown at the toe to bronze at the heel that look great with just about any shade of brown, taupe or cream.
I have the Franco Sarto Napoli’s. I love the way they look. They are a bit tight in the toe box due to the angle your foot sits (Im not as used to wearing such high heels) and yet I am finding that my heel slips out when I walk. Something about the fact that I am basically walking on my tiptoes causes my heel to slide out of the back even though they are snug enough sitting down. I have tried grips, different shoes, etc. But, Im having this issue in seemingly all of my higher heeled shoes lately. The grips just push my foot forward and squish my toes. Im still looking for the perfect platform pump but think they may just not be for me.
Perhaps not for interviewing, but, I have these in the red and the black and wear them anytime I can get away with it…
I love these
i love the franco sarto shoes, but i wonder if the 4″ heels + platform renders them interview inappropriate. fwiw, i’m 5’8″.
I just ordered the sofft pumps…will see if they are wide enough for me!
For inexpensive heels, I tend to find Nine West and Bandolino to be the most comfortable.
I would add to what was said above – beware of LifeStride! Due to good sales, I’ve been able to get them very cheaply on occasion and it’s always been a mistake. They show wear very quickly, and they can be very uncomfortable. The ones I bought started off well enough, but after a wear or two, they looked cheap and worn and they tore up my feet!
I bought a pair of Hush Puppy heels for $12 at an outlet store – they aren’t real leather (of course) but they are hands down the most comfortable pair of heels I’ve ever owned.
What type of socks/hosiery would you wear with pumps? When I wear trouser socks, they seem to slip down and sometimes even off the backs of my feet. If I am wearing a skirt I can wear hose, and in the summer I go sans hosiery – even with pants.
But I must admit, I avoid pumps in the winter time unless it’s with a skirt/dress as I have no idea what type of socks to pair with them. Also, beyond style, what color do you pair? I always find black socks and black pumps looks a bit odd to me….so perhaps something nude?
I’ve never worn socks with pumps – I go with tights and a skirt in the winter, and usually barefoot with pants year-round. Or, you can do knee-high hose/tights, but I have issues with those staying up.
There are little footies that are supposed to stay within the pump (so they aren’t visible at all), but they’ve never worked with me.
I wear those pantyhose knee high things.
Knee-highs are what goes with pumps in the winter or interviews. I recommend off-black with black shoes and nude with everything else. In any case, get the sandalfoot, NOT the reinforced toe, to avoid that bad visible toe look).
In my view, the better quality knee-highs last longer and bag less, so spring for the Hanes Silk Reflections (available at a good price point from your local Hanes L’eggs Bali outlet or online from onehanesplace.com in packages of six). And yes, that Hosiery Mate stuff does work and will allow you to get 3 or 4 wearings (and occasionally more) out of each pair.
Thank you! That reminds me that I did have a pair of these for interviewing years ago and I’ll have to pick some more up to wear in the fall/winter.
M in CA
Spanx knee-highs are the most comfortable and natural-looking I’ve found. I don’t like black hose so I only wear nude to match my skin tone. They are a little pricey but in my opinion totally worth it b/c they are comfortable and stay up.
I am confused about Ms. B’s comment (below) about sandalfoot v. reinforced toe — if you’re wearing pumps, aren’t reinforced toe knee-highs preferred b/c the reinforced part is covered by the pump? (I don’t ever wear hose w/ open toe shoes anyway, but YMMV.)
The problem with reinforced toe hose is that the reinforced part often is not covered by the front of the shoe, even if it is a “no toe cleavage” shoe. Also, the reinforced area goes straight across, but neither people’s feet nor most pumps are straight lines, so you end up with visible reinforcement. Save the reinforced toes for loafers and higher instep shoes.
I have the Calvin Klein pumps and they are the most comfortable ones I’ve ever owned. They don’t rub anywhere and fit my narrowish foot really well.
I question whether 4″ platforms (or 4″ heels at all) should be worn to an interview – if you do, make sure you can walk with extreme confidence in them, including a potentially protracted walk to lunch somewhere. Nothing screams “I’m a little girl playing dress-up” (exactly the opposite of what you want to portray at an interview) than someone clomping around in shoes she clearly is not comfortable in and cannot walk well in.
For shoes under $100, I’ve had good luck with naturalizer and bandolino.
Seeing interns walking in heels like they’re on stilts cracks me up.
Yes, I own the shoes but wouldn’t wear them to an interview for that reason. They’re OK for in-office wear, but not for any significant walking. I think they’re also a touch too trendy for an interview. Thankfully, I am not in interviewing mode right now.
I actually think it’s easier to walk in 3.5″-4.5″ heels–I always feel like I’m tottering in lower heels. Something about the angle…. My favorite pair of interviewing heels are actually 4″+ a smidge.
Does anyone have these Sofft shoes? Do they run small or large? (Sometimes I wear 7 1/2, sometimes 8.) Thanks.
They’re pretty true-to-size, imo. I’d order up, though, if you’re unsure. The footbed can be pulled up by a decent shoe store employee or cobbler and they can add padding to aid the fit.
Ixnay on the platforms for interviewing — the platforms take the shoes out of the classic category and put them into the more trendy category. That’s fine for everyday, but for the interview shoe, you want to be more conservative.
In that vein, I have these Bandolinos in the black croc patent:
I love them. They are moderately pointly (but not too much so) with a two inch heel. They are very comfortable (key for a long day of OCI) and they have held up well (I have replaced the heel tips once, but that is all in the year that I have had them). The stacked heel is a strong preference of mine because it does not show scrapes and tears as easily. Either the black leather or the navy leather in this style would be great for interviews.
I would caution against patent croc pattern, that is not classic
Oh, I don’t know…I kind of think they are a little zippy, but classic enough to work for an interview, especially when the rest of the outfit is conservative. I dressed pretty conservative for OCI and would not have felt out of place in these, especially with only a 2 inch heel…
I just bought the perfect pair of work pumps over the weekend for under $100 and I had to share. I actually bought them in black and leopard (for weekends) because I loved them so much. Here they are in patent:
Super comfortable!!! Can’t wait to wear them this week! You can also find these in department stores- I scored mine at Belk.
Those look really comfy. Thanks!
I just bought the Zabrina pumps from Lauren by Ralph Lauren. They are right under $100 and actually really comfortable for the height! They are leather so I’m hoping they will hold up better than the last few pairs of black heels I’ve bought. I wore them all last week and love them so far!
Does anyone here ever get the small cap on the bottom of the heel replaced? They usually wear off on my shoes after 6 months. Of course, I see it as an opportunity to shoe-shop, but is it worth it to have someone fix the shoe?
Definitely worth it if you love the shoe. Sometimes can be cheap as $10 or 15 as long as you stop wearing them as soon as you notice so you don’t wear down the bolt/screw thing (I’m guilty of that! Jacks up the price).
I just had the caps on a favorite pair of shoes fixed after reading a previous corporette column. SOOOO worth it! And, since I had waited til it was down to the metal insert, I expect doing so sooner would be even more productive/less expensive…
Replacing shoe caps is a $10 (ore less) transaction and the ones the cobbler puts on are usually better than the originals (especially for shoes under $100). It goes in my ‘worth fixing’ category. One tip though – if the shoes in question are slingbacks, check the wear on the elastic part of the strap – the cobbler can put in new elastic if necessary. The wear rate on both seems to be about the same for me.
Definitely! Costs $8-10 to get it done in New York- and the two cobblers I’ve used have also given my shoes a good shine and fixed minor heel imperfections while they were at it.
I do this regularly. I put heavy use on my heels, walking a few blocks each way to work every day, and I can get at least 100 wearings out of a good pair. I usually replace the heel caps after 20-30 wearings for the manufacturer’s heel tip, and somewhere around every 70+ wearings after that. Worth it for any pair I spend more than $60 on, particularly if it has leather soles that will be replaceable as well.
Also check out Sofft – their high heels are the most comfy I’ve EVER worn. The only shoes that I can wear all day and not have any foot pain! And they fit into the $100 budget and come in wide sizes as well!
I bought these recently and have worn them to work a lot lately. They are very comfortable and attactive. They are holding up much better than more expensive designer brands.
An avid reader of Corporette, this is my first post!
I’ve been having a hard time finding black pumps lately because of “toe cleavage.” Do others have the same problem? My go-to shoe is the Nine West Nuncio (linked above in 18), but I’d like a bit of variety. The Nuncios show less than half an inch of toe cleavage–and I’m okay with that. But lately every shoe I’ve tried has shown closer to an inch. Does anyone have suggestions? Recently, I’ve tried Stuart Weitzman (sp?), Cole Haan and Calvin Klein.
Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler
Working on a student budget I have actually found that these are pretty great (http://www.target.com/Mossimo-Black-Virginia-Pumps/dp/B00267ZY4W/ref=br_1_15?ie=UTF8&id=Mossimo%20Black%20Virginia%20Pumps&node=347674011&searchSize=90&searchView=grid5&searchPage=1&sr=1-15&qid=1281998534&rh=target_com_primary_color-bin%3ABlack&searchBinNameList=target_com_category-bin%2Cstyle_name%2Ctarget_com_shoe_size-bin%2Clifestyle-bin%2Ctarget_com_primary_color-bin%2Cprice%2Ctarget_com_brand-bin&searchRank=pmrank&frombrowse=1). I have spent hours standing in these and my feet have been okay (my calves are another story).
Classy Career Girl
I love these heels! I am desperately in needs of some new black kicks and this makes me want to head straight to the mall!
My favorite affordable heels are Nine West. I do a lot of walking at work so they must be comfortable and the heels can’t be too high! Thanks for these great ideas!
I couldn’t help but notice the lovely turquoise color on the sarto shoes I have a question slightly off topic: How do you prevent your pumps from becoming icky inside. all my shoes look very clean on the outside but very “dirty” in the inside soles. Do you have a special cleaning regimen for inside the shoes? (mine are always leather so I cannot use soap or water etc. I used the same leather cleaner that I use on the outer shoe but it never works.
Any tips are greatly appreciated.
P.S. this is very important in my part of world as we are expected to take off our shoes before walking on carpets (which happens a lot!)
Do you put your bare feet in the shoes, or do you wear socks or hose?
Always bare feet, it is too hot to wear socks and hose make my feet slip off the shoes
I bought a pair of black leather BATA pumps. They are so comfortable and classic. Only for 69 euro. Great investment for the whole year.